The Morningside Years
Reviewed: January 17, 2003
By: Peter Gzowski
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
335 Pages, $19.99
picked up The Morningside Years last
year in a fit of despondency after the death of Peter Gzowski, when it seemed
that his name was everywhere and we were all lamenting the passing of an era.
the era had really passed already. Weíd gone to the era of Michael and Avril
(remember Avril?) on This Morning, the program that sounded and tasted a lot
like its ancestor, but which you couldnít make reference to without sounding
like you were related to Jacob Two-Two (Did you hear This Morning this
Shelagh finally got the job that a lot of listeners thought she should have had
in the first place, This Morning got to sounding even more Morningsidish,
partly because she had spent so much time in the guest hostís chair, but then
came the rumours that the whole shebang was going to be tossed out and
now we are finally reorganized into The Current, which is interesting when I
get to hear it, (but who starts listening to anything on the half-hour? Well,
8:37 more like...) and Sounds Like Canada, which um, could be called Sounds a
lot like This (Country in the) Morning(side), except that it just DOESNíT have
a theme song that you can hum.
well, the point is that this book collects a lot of scripts and conversations
from fifteen years worth of radio between some covers and throws in a CD
compilation of about an hourís worth of material from the archives.
are conversations with writers: Alice Munro, Robertson Davies (twice), Margaret
Atwood, W.O. Mitchell, Margaret Laurence, and Timothy Findley.
are items from the ongoing Cookbook.
is a play (Mourning Dove) and the first whack at a retrial of Louis Riel (which
was recently redone on television), a journal about raising a child with Downís
Syndrome, a selection of formal letters from Canadians abroad, Voices from the
North (Gzowski having been one of the first southern Canadians to admit that we
were here), selections from journals on a variety of subjects, and letters of
comment from readers.
to my surprise many of these selections were bite-sized and lent themselves to
occasional dipping rather than sustained reading. This is by way of saying that
the book took me six months to read, but it was never a strain and often quite
a bit of fun.
CD is a bonus and has given me some easy listening a few times already. It goes
nicely with the double CD set of Gzowski material that CBC released last spring
and which I may comment on here sometime.
The Morningside Years was published in
1997, and might, therefore, be a little hard to acquire. I got my copy at Macís
Fireweed. Chapters says itís out of print, but both Amazon.com and Barnes &
Noble disagree with that, and Iíll just bet that Well-Read Books could scare up
a copy. Out of all the volumes of Morningside Papers this is probably the one